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I recently spoke to Dave Goelz, the mind, voice and puppet hand behind The Great Gonzo, Zoot the Sax Player, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew about his history with Jim Henson and his merry band of puppet pranksters.

The interview ran in Salon this past wekeend.  My favorite question:

What is Gonzo?

[laughs] We didn’t know. [Muppet head writer] Jerry Juhl wanted to answer the question, so he wrote “Muppets from Space” (1999), which revealed that Gonzo was an alien. Later, Frank Oz insisted that was just a movie, and we still don’t know what he is.

Read the whole interview




I include trivia in each one of my newsletters. Subcribe here

  • The idea for Back to the Future came when co-writer/producer Bob Gale was visiting his parents and found his father's high school yearbook. While thumbing through, he asked himself "What would it have been like if my father and I had been in high school at the same time?" 
  • The idea for Home Alone came when writer John Hughes was about to leave on a family vacation then at the last minute scrawled down the idea "What if we left one kid at home by mistake?" 
  • The following Christmas songs were written by my people, the Jews: "White Christmas," "Let it Snow", "Santa Baby," "I'll be home for Christmas," "Silver Bells," "Winter Wonderland." 
  • The word "December" means come from the Latin word for "10," Back in ancient Rome, the calendar only counted only 10 months, beginning with March. The western calendar didn't start on January 1 until 1582, many centuries later. 
  • The reason "lbs" means "pounds also comes from ancient Rome: "LB" is an abbreviation for "libra", the Latin word "to weigh." (via 99% Invisible). 





I include a series of reading recommendations in each edition of my newsletter you might enjoy...

Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014 (perfect for someone terrified of science like me). This completely-bananas saga of what's happening at The New Republic magazine. How the scandal of Sony's leaked emails and the cancellation of The Interview are our present not future. A speech by TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes that made me cry.  How podcasts are making serious money. The Strand Bookstore's recipe for success in the age of Amazon. The social shame of having bad teeth while living in a rich country like America. A nice remembrance of director Mike Nichols. "Requiem for Rod Serling" . And a book I'm really excited to read next: Who We Be: The Colorization of America, new book 8 years in the making by the brilliant Jeff Chang. 

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Happy New Year! 

For the last few years I've read "Ring Out, Wild Bells" a poem by Alfred Tennyson aloud on New Year's Day. Though originally written as a eulogy for his brother-in-law, I find it a fitting end to the events of one year and the incoming hope of another. The first three stanzas are below... 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.